Bhakti Scriptures

Introduction to Sri Brahma Samhita

romapada swami's introduction to brahma samahita

Romapada Swami TalksRomapada Swami speaks:

St.Louis, MI, November 18th 2014

This evening and Thursday evening I am going to be speaking from this book Sri Brahma-Samhita. We will start this evening with a little introduction – what the book is. Following that, we will discuss the first verse and then gloss over the first parts of the Sri Brahma-Samhita. Our discussion will conclude with the first of Brahma’s prayers –

govindam adi-puruṣam tam aham bhajami

This is a BBT publication. It is an unedited presentation of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur’s English commentary, or his purports. Bhaktisiddhanta’s English commentary is a rendering of his father Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Bengali commentary which is a Bengali translation of Jiva Goswami’s Sanskrit commentary. It is quite interesting to compare the English translation of Jiva Goswami’s commentary, the translation of Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s commentary, and, with a good dictionary in hand, reading Bhaktisiddhanta’s English presentation because one can see, by doing this, the parampara in action. Jiva Goswami’s Sanskrit commentary is of course based upon his understanding of Lord Caitanya’s teachings, which he heard from Rupa and Sanatana Goswami, his two uncles, which they directly heard from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who directly received this book in His own hand in South India, at the Adi Kesava temple.

In Sri Caitanyua Caritamrta you will find the narration of Lord Caitanya’s South India tour. One of the places He visited way down south, in the southern portion of India below Trivendrum, was the Adi Kesava temple. There was a group of very exalted scholars residing there at the time, with whom He engaged extensively in hari katha. In the course of their dialogue, they disclosed the subjects found within Sri Brahma-Samhita. When Lord Caitanya heard the topics being described, He literally began dancing! He made a copy and just before returning to Puri, He visited Ramananda Raya the Governor of Madras, for the second time. He gave him a copy of both Sri Brahma-Samhita and Krishna Karnamrta with the explanation that these two literatures give spiritual support or basis for all the wonderful things that Ramananda Raya discussed with Lord Caitanya during their first meeting. From this we can understand that Lord Caitanya accepted Sri Brahma-Samhita as highly authorized Vedic literature. In fact, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami declared that Sri Brahma-Samhita contains the essence of all truths found within all the Vedas.

I personally wanted to study Sri Brahma-Samhita for a number of reasons. Without a long explanation, the very first Krishna conscious literature that I received was a Back to Godhead magazine when I was a university student. And in that Back to Godhead magazine there was an amazing article by Bhaktisiddhanta. Just to give you an idea of his elevated language, the title of the article was “The Vedanta: Its Morphology and Ontology.” I had to look it up in the dictionary – what does the title mean? It was a several page article and in short, just from reading what Bhaktisiddhanta had written, I felt my consciousness had been transcendentally transformed and elevated like I had never experienced in my life prior to that. So from the very beginning of my exposure to the teachings of bhakti, I had a very strong appreciation for Bhaktisiddhanta and what gift he had to offer: the gifts of Krishna consciousness. Not just knowledge and big vocabulary, but Krishna consciousness.

Many years later I discovered a letter in the Letters Book from Srila Prabhupada to Pradyumna. Pradyumna was a graduate from Columbia University’s Sanskrit College. He was – and still is – a brilliant person and a Sanskrit scholar, so Prabhupada engaged him in the service of providing word-for-word synonyms for the verses of Srimad Bhagavatam which would then become part of the publication, after Srila Prabhupada carefully reviewed his work. Prabhupada called him Panditji. In 1967 Pradyumna had found a copy of Sri Brahma-Samhita, and wrote a letter to Prabhupada asking if it was OK to read it. Here was Prabhupada’s reply: “Brahma-Samhita contains the highest of all spiritual knowledge. It is the gist of Srimad Bhagavatam … everything about Krishna is perfectly described. One who reads Brahma-samhita very carefully and scrutinizingly can understand everything of Krishna without any fault. I recommend, therefore that all my students read Brahma-Samhita very carefully—especially because it was translated personally by my spiritual master Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja.”

For me, that did it. There are many instructions that Srila Prabhupada has given. You would need at least a hundred lifetimes to fulfill them all. But because of my appreciation – high appreciation – for Bhaktisiddhanta along with this letter and a few other things, I decided to embark on studying Sri Brahma-Samhita and then share its message with others.

In Caitanya-Caritamrta, where Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami described Lord Caitanya’s finding of the Brahma-Samhita, he wrote:

siddhanta sastra nahi brahma-samhitara sama (CC Madhya 9.239)

There is no scripture equal to the Brahma-Samhita as far as the final spiritual conclusion is concerned. Indeed, that scripture is the supreme revelation of the glories of Lord Govinda, for it reveals the topmost knowledge about Him. Since all conclusions are briefly presented in the Brahma-Samhita, it is essential among all the Vaishnava scriptures.

In his purport to this verse, Srila Prabhupada describes something like eighty seven different subjects which are within Brahma-Samhita, although it is only sixty two verses long. Each of the sixty two verses is a sutra-like presentation of the eighteen thousand verses of Srimad Bhagavatam. Although it is a skinny little book, it is very heavy! There’s a lot in it! Each verse can be unpacked and unpacked and further unpacked. Because this class is intended to be only a short summary of the book, I am only going to be presenting a small portion of the contents of Sri Brahma-Samhita and then encourage you, if your time permits, to hear the presentation that I am going to be making over Thanksgiving holiday on the Govindam prayers from Sri Brahma-Samhita. Last year, I already covered all the verses except the prayers. That took about twenty eight hours including questions. To cover the rest of the verses will easily take that much time. There is a lot.

So this is not comprehensive presentation of Sri Brahma-Samhita. It is introductory and summary only.

Let us start with a description found in Srimad Bhagavatam which teaches the importance of becoming deeply absorbed in the regular recitation of standard prayers, in this case specifically the Govinda prayers. Here is a painting of Gajendra mokṣa lila, which you are all familiar with. Gajendra is the elephant pictured here, but before he was Gajendra the elephant, he was King Indradyumna who was cursed by Agastya Muni that he would become an elephant because he had offended the sage Agastya unintentionally. King Indradyumna was engaged in meditation. The sage came to his hermitage. The King didn’t honor Agastya Muni when he entered his hermitage because the King was engaged in meditation. So the sage cursed him, “You are dull like an elephant, you become an elephant” and he became an elephant. This is narrated in Canto 8 Srimad Bhagavatam. One time, while bathing in a lake along with many other elephants, a crocodile started chomping on Gajendra’s leg and a big fight ensued, which went on for a long long long time. Gradually, Gajendra the elephant was becoming weaker and weaker. Eventually he understood he was soon going to be finished! “I am losing strength. He is in his element. I am out of my element. It is over.”

In that situation of desperation, Supersoul Paramatma within his heart reminded him of the prayers which he used to recite as King Indradyumna. Gajendra began reciting those very prayers with such intense feeling of calling out to the Lord in desperation, because the alligator was chomping on his leg. Hearing his prayers, Lord Vishnu came! When he saw the beautiful form of Lord Vishnu, Gajendra wanted to honor him and make an offering of devotion. Given his predicament, the only way he could do that was with his trunk he grabbed a lotus flower growing in the lake and held the lotus up in the air with his trunk as an offering to Lord Vishnu.

Then Lord Vishnu released His Sudarsana Cakra, chopping off the head of the alligator. In the painting you can see Sudarsana Cakra chopping off the head of the alligator.  Lord Vishnu’s carrier looks like a pigeon, not like Garuda (laughter). When the alligator’s head was severed, from the body of the alligator arose a Gandharva, who was previously cursed to become an alligator. By being killed by Lord Vishnu, his curse was now terminated. Gajendra was likewise liberated after some time by the mercy of Lord Vishun. Here we see the demigods showering flowers in honor of Lord Vishnu’s kindness to Gajendra.

This translation is taken from the first verse of Canto 8 Chapter 3. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Thereafter, the King of the elephants, Gajendra, fixed his mind in his heart with perfect intelligence and chanted a mantra which he had learned in his previous birth as Indradyumna and which he remembered by the grace of Krishna.

Here is what Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport: Gajendra was formerly King Indradyumna, and somehow or other in his next life he became King of the elephants. In fact, that’s what Gajendra means – gajaindra, King of the elephants. Now Gajendra was in danger, and although he was in a body other than that of a human being, he remembered the stotra he had chanted in his previous life –

yatate ca tato bhuyaḥ samsiddhau kuru-nandana

To enable one to achieve perfection, Krishna gives one the chance to remember Him again.

Srila Prabhupada continues – It is imperative, therefore, that all devotees in Krishna consciousness – that’s us – practice chanting some mantra. Certainly one should chant the Hare Krishna maha mantra, which is the maha-mantra, or great mantra, and also one should practice chanting cintamani-prakara-sadmasu or the Nrsimha strotra – ito nṛsimhah parato nṛsimho yato yato yami tato nrsimhah. Every devotee – that’s us – should practice in order to chant some mantra perfectly so that even though he may be imperfect in spiritual consciousness in this life – that’s us — in his next life he will not forget Krishna consciousness, even if he becomes an animal. Hopefully that won’t be us (laughter). Of course, a devotee should try to perfect his Krishna consciousness in this life, for simply by understanding Krishna and His instructions, after giving up this body one can return home, back to Godhead.

This is a direct instruction: “All of my disciples should practice some mantra.” Srila Prabhupada established a daily practice to help us fulfill this instruction: in all of our temples all over the world every day, when greeting the Deities we are engaged in chanting at least two of these Sri Brahma-samhita’s stotras every morning. From this we can understand the importance Srila Prabhupada gave to these prayers!

When Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Puri after having given a copy of Sri Brahma-Samhita to Ramananda Raya, He also gave a copy to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya as well as to Svarupa Damodara. Eventually Sri Brahma-Samhita became a literature that all associates of Caitanya Mahaprabhu kept and studied and learned because it enshrined the essential message of Lord Caitanya, which was the same message of Srimad Bhagavatam. This thin little book has a very special significance in our Gauḍiya Sampradaya.

In particular, this book Sri Brahma-samhita – according to Jiva Gosvami –is Chapter Five out of the one hundred chapters which comprise the complete work. What Lord Caitanya found in Adi Kesava temple was Chapter Five; according to Jiva Gosvami, the essence of the entire other ninety nine chapters is compressed and presented in Chapter Five.

What you see on the screen is the first verse of the book. Let us chant this verse together.

isvarah paramah krishna
anadir adir govindah

The translation – Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.

In Jiva Gosvami’s commentary, the purport for this verse is about thirty pages long. The reason he provided such an extensive purport is because he indicates this verse is the paribhasa sutra of the entire text. What does that mean? Here are the synonyms of each of these words. Just like the word pariksati – when you look around. So pari means around, bhaṣa means language or speech. So paribhasa means to fully speak or to explain or to define – in a sutra.

In Jiva Gosvami’s Krishna Sandarbha – it is one of six parts of a large work, a commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam – he introduces this term. Paribhasa sutra is one of classic elements of a larger Sanskrit text. I will now express in simple language what he teaches about this term Paribhasa sutra.

Here is a general definition. A paribhasa sutra is a verse which appears towards the beginning of a larger text. It governs all of the other verses of that text just like an emperor governs many kings. In that larger work, there may be many seemingly unrelated subjects and truths that are stated; the reader may not see how they are connected to one another. But they are connected by the paribhasa sutra, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the work. When something is said later in the text, if one is not clear about the meaning, any understanding must (so it’s a rule) must be consistent with the paribhasa sutra. Conversely, you can’t screw a meaning out of a text that does not resonant with, or is not in fidelity with, the paribhasa sutra. Determining what is the paribhasa sutra of a book is very important. It is the key that opens up the treasure house.

The paribhasa sutra example given by Jiva Gosvami in Krishna Sandarbha is Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28

ete camsa-kalah pumsah krishnas tu bhagavan svayam

 In that phrase, it indicates that specifically Krishna in His original form in Goloka is the fountainhead of all other incarnations. Chapter 3 is a listing of His incarnations. In fact, He is the source of everything. As the Vedas are searching for the Absolute Truth – that from which everything comes – the paribhasa sutra of Srimad Bhagavatam declares that Krishna is that source of everything, from which everything else comes. Krishna is the Absolute Truth. All the other seventeen thousand nine hundred and ninety nine verses of Srimad Bhagavatam are governed by this one.

Similarly, those of you that have studied Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, its paribhasa sutra is concealed or buried within the introduction. But in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu the paribhasa sutra is clearly stated. Some of you are familiar with this verse –

anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama

The subject of the entire Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is about bhakti. This sloka is a definition of what bhakti is and what bhakti isn’t. You have heard me describe this many times before. Just as this sloka is the paribhasa sutra of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, similarly this first verse of Sri Brahma-Saḿhita is said to be the paribhasa sutra of the entire text. That means all of the other texts are expanding on the meaning of this one verse! Jiva Gosvami goes on to declare that this Chapter Five is the paribhasa chapter of the other ninety nine chapters!

Text One is a heavy verse. It has a weighty message! We will discuss it only very briefly.

The verse starts with isvarah paramah krishna. This word isvara means controller – everyone is controlling something. And although everyone is controlling something, everyone is controlled by somebody else. We are little isvaras and there is a param isvara – supreme isvara. The Controller of all controllers. And the controller of controllers, that’s Krishna. At the same time, Krishna is not controlled by anyone; so He is up at the top here. He is the controller of all controllers.

Lord Brahma is the creator of the universe. In the Second Canto, Narada Muni got a little confused. He thought, “Brahma, what are you doing meditating? I thought you were the topmost person. You are the creator of the entire universe! There is somebody above you? It seems that way, because you are meditating on something or someone.” Brahma replied, “Yes, my power to create comes from Krishna.” Although Brahma is a controller, he is controlled by a superior controller. Once the universe is created, demigods who are controlling the universal affairs are generated. They worship Lord Vishnu and their power, their ability to control the universal affairs, and the universe itself that they are controlling, comes from Him.

Here is a nice Pushkar painting where the demigods are at the shore of the milk ocean and the Lord is in Svetadvipa – the island in the midst of the milk ocean. They are offering their prayers, purusa-sukta prayers, in honor of Lord Vishnu who is the controller of the controllers.

Lord Indra, after his terrible offense to Krishna and the residents of Vrndavana – with the downpour of rain for seven days and seven nights on Vrndavana trying to kill everybody – he comes before Krishna and offers his worship to Krishna.

Lord Brahma similarly, after the brahma-vimohana-lila, offers his prayers to Krishna. So there’s no exception. Krishna is the controller of all controllers.

The second line of the verse reads sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. Now this is very important. Vigraha verifies the fact that the Absolute Truth has form and sac-cid-ananda verifies that His form is not a material form. When we think of form, we naturally think of material form – and so impersonalists go in the direction of “definition by negation,” reasoning “Well, the Absolute must be without form because form means material.” They can’t go the next step and say “There’s such a thing as forms that are spiritual.” They are unable to do that. But Sri Brahma-Samhita is declaring very emphatically that the form of the Lord is sat and cit and ananda – eternity, knowledge, and bliss. And that’s what His form is made of, His transcendental form. And not only His form, but the whole of Goloka and all of the other living beings that are emanations from Him are fully spiritual in form.

Next comes an apparent contradiction. First is this word adir and then anadir Govinda. The meaning is that He is the original, who has no other origin. Of those thirty pages of Jiva Gosvami’s commentary to this verse, something like twelve of them are just expanding on this word Govinda. What is the significance of this word Govinda? Because he has already spoken the name of Krishna – isvaraḥ paramah krishna. Govinda specifically refers to that feature of the Supreme Lord that is the original form from whom all others come and He, that original, resides in Goloka. Govinda’s abode is Goloka, the realm of many many cows.

Last time I was here in St. Louis, we had a small gathering of university students at Krishna House. A Christian Science girl was there. I grew up in a Christian family but I never was acquainted much with Christian Science or Christian scientists. It is a numerically small group. But I know that they have very strong ideas so I wanted to hear from her. “Why don’t you say what Christian Science says and I will say what Krishna says?” We just compared, back and forth.

She said, “Christian science says that our real identity is not the covering of the soul, but the soul within; and that the covering or the human form is to give the soul a very special opportunity to achieve the highest potential of consciousness of the soul.”

I said, “Perfect match!”

“And if you do not achieve the highest potential of consciousness of the soul, then when the body is finished, you get another body.”

So reincarnation is part of their conviction also. Fantastic! And so I asked, “What’s that fullest state of consciousness? What is it?”

“Well it is consciousness of the Supreme.”

I said, “OK great. And what’s the Supreme?” Then the discussion went to ‘definition by negation’. “Well it’s not this.”

“Ok. What is it? And how do you know that you are there? Just like how do we know we are here? We have a body. We have form. We have senses. We are here. So when you are in that state of higher consciousness, how do you know?” I was seeking to find out whether she was an impersonalist or personalist. “Is there form in the state of pure consciousness?” Well, it was not clear to her. “I am just a student. Maybe the Minister of Christian Scientists will know; it will be clear to him.” Maybe not.

I said, “All of this is very close but what Krishna says is there is a place for those perfected living entities. Just like for living entities that don’t achieve the highest state of consciousness, one continues to come back and get the opportunity at least to attain that. When you have attained that, there is a place, and the place is called Goloka. And literally go-loka means planet of cows.”

She said “NO!”

I said, “Yes! Why no? Krishna likes cows.”

She said no.

“Why can’t He like cows?”

She said “How can there be cows there?”

“Not cows like this. These are spiritual cows with spiritual form. They are Surabhi cows.” We will hear more about it in just a bit. “They love Krishna and Krishna loves them. They have no claws and they have no sharp teeth. They are very kind and gentle and so is Krishna. And they love Krishna. Krishna loves them.”

So that’s Goloka. And in Goloka, Krishna is enjoying with not only the cows, He’s enjoying with all the eternal, perfectly pure loving associates.

So the import of the word Govinda is the original form of the source of all things: anadir adir govindah. Let us consider Krishna in His abode in Goloka, in comparison – or in contrast to – the Supreme Lord of Vaikuntha. They are the same Supreme Lord, but that Lord is Narayana and this Lord is Govinda. anadir adir govindah. Vyasadeva meditated upon Krishna, and disclosed his identity as the cause of all causes, and all incarnations and all expansions of Him. That is revealed in the paribhasa sutra of Srimad Bhagavatam, found the third chapter of the first canto.

That’s the first verse.

Verses three thru five (BS3, BS4, BS5)  disclose – a real quick gloss – a presentation on the realization of Lord Brahma’s vision of the spiritual world Goloka. The devotional meditation process applied by Lord Brahma mentions both mantra and a yantra. Here you see an image of a yantra.

In Mayapur there is a Narasimha altar, shown in this photo. When you look carefully at the Narasimha deity, just at His feet are all these saligram silas. Over to our left is Prahlada. And just on the left and the right below the saligram silas there are yantras. See the brass plates – two of them? Depicted on the brass plate in Sanskrit letters along with the yantra diagram is the abode of Lord Narasimhadava.

This next image is not a Narasimha yantra. This is a Govinda yantra. Here it is shown in Sanskrit letters, and here it is with those same terms presented in Roman letters. In short, this yantra is a depiction of Goloka. The line right here are words of a mantra. Actually, there are two mantras. Here is the bīja mantra – klim – at the center, and then around the inside, created by these inverted triangles, is a six sided figure called hexagon. In that six sided figure on the inside that’s the abode of Radha and Krishna.

Maybe you have seen this poster. It is the same design. This is Goloka and in the central part, within the six-sided mantra are Radha and Krishna, according to Sri Brahma-Samhita. Remember, I am just summarizing verses 3 thru 5. Outside are the petals; the petals are the abodes of the Gopis. When you keep going out from the center, the abode of Radha and Krishna, there’s tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands abodes of other associates of Krishna. It is a big lotus! The yantra displays Krishna in Vrindavana along with His associates. This is Goloka.

Then the verses go on to say that outside the central whorl of the lotus and the central petals are the suburbs — doesn’t say “suburbs” (laughter). There’s a quadrangular region – that means four sided – and within this four sided quadrangular region, there are Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha, who reside in the Mathura and Dvaraka regions.

Sometimes you’ve heard this stated that when Krishna performs His pastimes in this world, there are three principal places – Vrndavana, Mathura, and Dvaraka. This is accurate, because the same exists in Goloka! There’s the upper Goloka – I am pointing up in the sky. Upper Goloka in the spiritual world and the place where Krishna performs His pastimes here, Gokula, are non-different! That’s one way to make a distinction between the two abodes – Upper and Lower. Both have all three divisions.

There are many other details described in verses 3-5 of Brahma Samhita (BS3BS4BS5).

The process of realizing everything that Brahma saw was based on the same thing that we do – mantra chanting.

A number of verses follow, which we are going to skip, describe the unfolding of the creation to the point where Lord Brahma appears on the lotus coming from the navel of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu. This painting shows Lord Brahma seated on his lotus, with only darkness in all directions. Can’t turn on a light. No candle. No Sun. Nothing. Just darkness in all directions. He sees the lotus. He uses his rational faculty which says, “Well, if I find where the stem of this lotus originates, I will find where I came from.” So he starts climbing down the stem and down and down and down and doesn’t find the end of the stem. Then he realizes, “I am not going to find out my origin this way.”

Then he hears the syllables tapa three times. He knows what that means. He is supposed to do tapasya.  The tapasya that he does is described here in Sri Brahma-Samhita. From the original goddess of learning Sarasvati, the divine consort of the Supreme Lord, a mantra is given. The purport explains that this isn’t the goddess Sarasvati who people go to worship before they take their exams in India. That’s a different one. That Sarasvati is an expansion of the original Sarasvati. Remember, this is taking place before there is even the universe, what to speak of an exam. This Sarasvati is the internal potency of the Supreme Lord. She, Radharani, or the original internal potency of the Supreme Lord, Sarasvati, said to Brahma, “O Brahma, this mantra which is that hexagonal mantra within the abode of Krishna will assuredly fulfill your heart’s desire.” That could be a problem if you have material desire. And by the way, this mantra can do both. So he chanted this mantra for a long time. Not just sixteen rounds a day. He chanted nothing but this mantra for one thousand celestial years because there was nothing else to do.

This image depicts the six-sided mantra with klim in the middle. Radha and Krishna are here at the center. In the purport, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura identifies each of these six sides of the mantra and the syllables which compose each of the six sides. What each syllable means is also given in his purport. What message they convey. He meditated upon the mantra while visualizing this yantra because the yantra is the abode of Krishna. It is Goloka. Govinda in Goloka. That was Verse 24. After that, he heard the sound of Krishna’s flute entering into his ear and then from his mouth came another mantra, kama-gayatri mantra. Then we are at Verse 28 where it says “Enlightened by the recollection of that Gayatri, embodying the three Vedas, Brahma became acquainted with the expanse of the ocean of truth.” That means the Absolute Truth. He realized Krishna. “Then he worshiped Sri Krishna, the essence of all the Vedas, with this hymn.”

Some of you may have attended or heard the recordings of the seminar we had in Gita Nagari on exploring gurutattva. One of the classes that I gave was explaining what happens when initiation takes place. Specifically, when mantra is given. When mantra is given, or mantradika takes place, two things happen – same as in this verse. divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya sankṣayam is the Sanskrit verse. Two things happen with divyam jnanam. One can understand who oneself is. Here is Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura’s language – Brahma thought thus within himself, “By the recollection of kama-gayatri it seems to me that I am the eternal maidservant of Krishna. He understood his rasa. The external or worldly part of his service is that he is going to create a universe. He hasn’t done that yet. But inside, his spiritual identity has been realized as conjugal rasa – an eternal maidservant of Krishna. He goes on – Though the other mysteries in regard to the condition of the maidservant of Krishna were not revealed to him – at least not yet, it will happen gradually – Brahma, by dint of his searching self-consciousness, became well acquainted with the ocean of truth. That “ocean of truth” is the truth of Krishna. So through the chanting of mantra, these two things are the essence to be derived – self-realization and God realization, and the clearing of anything else. Everything which can be considered as beneficial is to be seen in terms of those two. This is verse 28. And then the very next verse is the first of the Govinda prayers.

We will just cover the first of the Govinda prayers quickly this evening and we will continue again on Thursday. We will hear Mahatma singing. (HG Mahatma dasa sings)

BS 5.29
cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vriksha-
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhaj

This is Lord Brahma’s jubilation, exalting his realization of Krishna’s abode. Part of the reason for showing you those yantras is this: they are the abode of Krishna in a form meant for worship. In ISKCON we have deity worship, but Brahma didn’t have a deity – he had a yantra. When we do deity worship, we also chant mantra. Although the system which Brahma engaged in was different, the essence is not different and the consequence is not different. The awakening of Krishna consciousness is the essence.

In this verse Brahma is revealing his realization of Goloka dhama. Here is the translation: I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of Lakṣmis or Gopis.

The first three of the Govinda prayers, Verses 29, 30, and 31, are grouped. In his purport of text 31, Bhakti Siddhanta explains that Verse 29 is describing the abode of the Supreme Lord, the next verse is describing the form of Govinda, and the third verse is describing the amorous pastimes of Govinda. He is the embodiment of the sixty-four excellences. So the abode of Krishna, the form of Krishna, and the pastimes of Krishna. Krishna Krishna Krishna.

We are starting with the abode of Krishna. Within the abode of Krishna, there are very special opulence’s. We are accustomed to hearing about Vaikuntha as the transcendental realm where the opulence’s of Lord Narayana are overwhelmingly outstanding. The mood of devotion in Vaikuntha is aisvarya bhava – the mood of opulence. A very nice pastime in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta which illustrates this is found in the section where the Ratha yatra pastime of Lord Jagannatha is narrated.

After Lord Jagannatha and Subhadra and Balarama have their snana-yatra – the bathing festival – they disappear for two weeks and then they come out of the temple and are mounted on the chariot and they go down Grand Road to the Gundica temple. They stay there for several days. There is a return Ratha yatra eight days later. Each of the days when Lord Jagannatha is at Gundica, there is a different festival. On the fifth day, the festival is called Hera-pancami where Laksmi, who has been waiting patiently in the main temple, is getting a little impatient for Lord Jagannatha to come back. She comes out of the temple in a haughty mood. She is dressed in the most opulent of garments and jewels and she is placed on a palanquin of jewels and her attendants are dressed very opulently with weapons studded with jewels. Accompanied by the beating of drums and the blaring of trumpets, She is escorted down Grand Road from the Jagannatha temple demanding that Jagannatha comes back. She is like a wife that has been stood up by her husband. She is not going to just take it! With the sticks Her attendants beat the attendants of Jagannatha. (I don’t know how it happens. I don’t think anybody gets hurt.) They order “You bring Jagannatha back NOW!” It’s a big festival.

Lord Caitanya’s associates were standing by the side of Grand Road watching Laksmi go charging towards the Gundica temple in her angry mood. Srivasa saw this and he becomes jubilant. “Just see the opulence of my goddess of fortune! In Vrndavana the opulence is what? They have some trees and they go gather some flowers and some fruits and they make these little offerings to Krishna. But my goddess of fortune, she rides in a palanquin of jewels!”

Recently we were in Tirupati, where we had our midterm meeting in Tirupati with the GBC. The temple president Revati Raman has a very strong relationship with the temple. He arranged not just VIP darsan but VIP VIP darsan and I think he had to pay a little money to get it. One of the days he went with a smaller group. He said that the deities were wearing a special outfit that’s worth many millions of dollars. It is an outfit made entirely of rubies and diamond. Just one dress. That’s one of the days of the year. Very opulent deity. Very opulent. During the darsan they had they were able to stand there not for three seconds but for five minutes. You can’t ordinarily do that! They did that. With the mantras being chanted and the whole thing. The devotees were observing the entire procedure.

When Lord Caitanya heard Srivasa – who started dancing, jumping “My goddess of fortune!” He said, “Srivasa, you sound just like Narada Muni!” Because he is Narada Muni, who has a special appreciation for the opulence of the Lord of Vaikuntha. Then Lord Caitanya turned to Svarupa Damodara and said, “Svarupa Damodara, can you speak something about the opulence of Vrndavana? Educate Srivasa a little bit”. So Svarupa Damodara, spoke some verses. One of them is quoted here, which is essentially paraphrasing Verse 29 along with the final verse of the prayers, Verse 56. sriyah kantah kantah… that verse.

Here is the verse from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and you see the Sanskrit it is similar: cintamaṇis carana-bhusanam angananam. (CC Madhya 14.228) The anklets on the damsels of Vraja-bhumi are made of cintamani stone. He was saying the goddess of fortune is riding in a palanquin made of jewels, but in Vrndavana, the Gopis – even their anklets are made of jewels! In fact, when they have shoes, for the little piece that goes between the big toe and the one next to it, they use cintamaṇi placed there. Sometimes they use big cintamaṇi stones as a doorstop (laughter) to hold the door open so that when Krishna’s coming back at the end of the day from herding the cows they can look out the door and see Krishna coming back. Very wonderful prayers by our acaryas about the cintamani.

The trees are wish-fulfilling trees, and they produce flowers with which the gopis decorate themselves. There are also wish-fulfilling cows [kamadhenus], which deliver unlimited quantities of milk. These cows constitute the wealth of Vrndavana. Thus Vrndavana’s opulence is blissfully exhibited. And there are many other verses – this is just one of them. I picked this one because just as in Verse 29 it mentions cintamani and kalpavrksa and surabhi cows, wish fulfilling cows, the opulence of Vrandavana. Essentially Svarupa Damodara is saying that in Vrandavana, just about everything can be supplied, just about anything.

Soon we will see a painting of Jamadagni, the father of Lord Parasurama. He had a kamadhenu, a wish fulfilling cow. Once he was visited by Kartavirya Arjuna, a powerful king, extremely proud, with lots of followers. He had his own entourage. Jamadagni wanted to feed him as well as all his followers, but he was living in a little cottage in the forest. So he approached his kamadhenu and his kamadhenu provided a big feast.

Goloka is filled with unlimited numbers of such cows, not just one. The surabhi cows of Goloka give not just milk but anything. Unlimited anything.

And the trees of Goloka – it’s not that they just supply fruits, or they supply fruits of one variety only, once per year according to season, in a restricted quantity; the trees of Goloka produce anything the residents of Goloka want, at any time, in any quantity.

Everything in Goloka is made of cintamani. What Svarupa Damodara was indicating was the opulence of the goddess of fortune in this palanquin of jewels is nothing! In Goloka, even the earth is jewels, the building material for the building is jewels. And those jewels can fulfill all desires. Srivasa was very happy to be defeated. He again started jumping and clasping his arms, making a funny sound.

cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura’s language in his translation of this verse is “Just as Maya builds this mundane universe with the five material elements, so the spiritual (cit) potency has built the spiritual world of transcendental gems.” One might wonder: if just about everything can produce just about anything, then why don’t the residents of Goloka live in big palaces and have fancy clothes and fancy ornaments? Why isn’t it gaudy and richly opulent? The answer is very simple; it has to do with the quality of the love of the residents of Vrndavana. Whatever they want is whatever Krishna wants, and whatever Krishna wants isn’t gaudy. This is the particular mood of Vrndavana. The mood is the love of the cows and the intimacy of loving associates. They only want what Krishna wants and the simple, natural things are what Krishna wants.

You are perhaps familiar with a sparsa-mani. Sparsa means touch. When you touch a touchstone to base metal, it becomes gold. Goloka isn’t built with sparsamani, but another type of a jewel. Literally cinta-mani means “a thought gem.” Whatever it is that you desire, the cintamani provides it. In Goloka everything is made of cintamani, even the chairs that you sit on and the floor that you walk on. It is inconceivable. The comment is made: Great saintly and sober persons like Akrura roll in the dust of Vrndavana, crying out “This is the dust of my Lord’s lotus feet!”

The trees of Goloka are also amazing! When I make this presentation, I am going to read form the writings of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and another of our acaryas Prabodhananda Sarasvati. There’s a whole chapter in Prabodhananda Sarasvati’s writings dedicated to glorifying the trees in Vrndavana. His poetry is just excellent!

“The purpose tree yields only the fruits of piety, wealth, fulfillment of desire and liberation.” The Vedas are compared to a purpose tree. Dharma, artha, kama, moksa are fulfilled through the Vedas. “but the purpose trees in the abode of Krishna bestow innumerable fruits” and here’s Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s language – “in the shape of checkered divine love.” This phrase means the trees fulfill the desires of rasa in the most intimate form. Checkered means variegated. Not just homogenous but full of variety of love. The trees assist the other living entities in fulfilling the happiness of love for Krishna.

And then the surabhi cows – laks avrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam. There’s lots of cows. Moooo…. (laughter)

Kama-dhenus (cows yielding the fulfillment of desire) give milk when they are milked; but the kama-dhenus of Goloka pour forth oceans of milk in the shape of the fountain of love showering transcendental bliss that does away with the hunger and thirst of all pure devotees. Unimaginable!

This painting shows the churning of the ocean of milk where surabhi is produced; but that’s just a lila where she manifests herself in this worldly realm. In the spiritual world, she eternally exists. In Goloka there is not just one surabhi cow, but unlimited numbers. And not just giving milk but love, showering transcendental bliss.

There’s this painting of Jamadagni. The surabhi cow was being taken away by Kartavirya Arjuna. When Parasurama came back, he was a little upset. He went and chopped Kartavirya Arjuna and all of his soldiers to pieces. Jamadagni was able to get anything and everything form one kama-dhenu, what to speak of Goloka were there are unlimited numbers of such special cows. All cows in Vraja are surabhi cows! That’s the nature of the place. Krishna loves them, and they love Krishna – very much.

To state the obvious, we should not think of what Krishna’s doing in Goloka as what people who take care of dairies do in this world. Care of cows on this earth is a reflection of Goloka; our conception of Goloka’s cows should not be confined to what this is. Like the girl at Washington U., saying “The kingdom of God cannot have cows!!”  Why not? The cows of Goloka are not the same as here. Of course it’s not like this!

In this prayer Lord Brahma is disclosing what the abode of Krishna is like. laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam. Here we see a depiction of eight different forms of the goddess of fortune Laksmi, the bestower of all fortune, as she is manifest in Vaikuntha.

Above our present realm, Devi dhama, is Hari dhama or Vaikuntha dhama. Above Hari dhama is Dvaraka and in Dvaraka, Krishna not just had one expansion of His internal potency, or eight expansions, but sixteen thousand goddesses of fortune who are all His expansions, residing in each one of Krishna’s different sixteen thousand palaces! But in Goloka, there are hundreds of thousands of such goddesses of fortune, all of whom are expansions of Srimati Radharaṇi at the center of all of them, and their happiness is simply serving the happiness of Radha, whose happiness is the pleasure of Krishna!

This Verse 29 is giving us a picture of the abode of Krishna. govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami. And that’s the short version.

We will continue on Thursday and cover those other two verses – the form of Krishna and the pastimes of Krishna. After those three verses, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura writes that Lord Brahma realizes how worldly people won’t understand the transcendental nature of Krishna’s abode, His form, or His pastimes. Either they won’t understand it at all, or they will think this is fanciful imagination of somebody who got a little carried away and started describing something fanaticized in their imagination. So that those doubting types of persons can understand how Krishna does what He does, and how He has the form that He has, and how His abode is as it is, Lord Brahma gives the four verses to explain how it is so. Following that section, Lord Brahma expands that understanding to explain “Here is the nature of the residents of Goloka. They are filled with love for Krishna.” He then goes more deeply into the nature of the types of love that exist in Goloka for Krishna. And then it starts getting really profound.

Sri Brahma Samhita proceed very systematically, step by step by step, taking one into the spiritual world, into the profound truths about Krishna. Really fascinating!

Any questions or comments from this evening?


Devotee: Maharaja, you asked the question and then answered it – how come everything is not gaudy in Goloka. Because Krishna likes it simple. In terms of deity worship, I understand the essence is trying to offer with love. Especially when serving Gaura Nitai deities like we do, their mood is simple but at the same time when the curtain opens, we want people to go ‘ahhh’ – become breathless.

Romapada Swami: What Srila Prabhupada said is that our worship in the beginning should be on the platform of awe and reverence, not on the spontaneous platform. On the regulative platform, we worship in the mood of awe and reverence; awe and reverence is invoked by splendor, so we worship in that way. When very elevated persons become situated in spontaneous love of God, their mood may change. As their mood changes, the expression of their worship may change. Then again, it may not. They may worship for the benefit of those who are not so elevated. It depends on the situation. They may continue to exhibit worship in opulence but internally they are appreciating something else, like Lord Caitanya, seeing Lord Jagannatha, saw Krishna holding a flute.

We don’t need to worry about that right now. We worship in an opulent way. Nice ornaments, nice dress, nice garlands, nice crown. For householders, deity worship is a very nice way where whatever it is that one has – that opulence that goes to the deity. Whether it is in your home or in your temple, it is the same principle. Something that is of great value, that goes to the deities. Something that is gold, that goes to the deities. It’s for the benefit of the worshipper to see that the best goes to the deity – to Krishna, or Lord Caitanya, Gaura Nitai. Best goes to Them – the best of foods and the best of flowers and the best of the best. Whatever one’s means permits.

There’s a happiness of love in making such offerings, and there is reciprocation with that offering of love. That is the happiness of deity worship. For those who do deity worship in a serious and regular way, there is reciprocation. You develop some attachment for your deity and the deity develops some attachment for you. This exchange of love helps one to progress. Deity worship helps one maintain pure consciousness and a fixed mind, because every day and then the next day and then the next day, in a very regulated way, one serves the deity. Your children will grow up but the deities don’t.  Children will go off and be on their own someday. Your deities will still be with you.

Devotee: After hearing the mantra from Goddess Sarasvati, Lord Brahma started to chant the mantra and then he realized he is the eternal maidservant of Krishna. (HH Romapada swami: No, no. After the second mantra, then he realized what you just said.) So my question is that he realizes that there is a Supreme Lord Krishna, that I am His eternal servant. Does that mean he is able to see the Lord – the Lord gives His darsana – or does he just understanding by chanting the mantra? Does he see Lord Krishna, and how does he know that Lord Krishna is Supreme?

Romapada Swami: He became acquainted with the ocean of truth. tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye [SB 1.1.1] The truth was imparted to him. How does he know? Because it was imparted to him. He saw Krishna.

One answer to your question is how do you know when you had enough to eat? You are full!

There is a verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam that says essentially that [SB 11.2.42]. Through the process of hearing – in this case hearing mantra – three things happen. Same as with the eating process. Suppose you have been fasting for some time, and then you break your fast, three things happen. The hunger that you were feeling from fasting goes away, one feels strength coming back into the body, and one feels satisfied. At a certain point someone can say “Would you like some more?” and you say you are full. How do you know you are full? You feel full! (laughter).

Like that, the sense of bhakti – “I wish to serve the Supreme Lord. There is nothing else.”  para-isa anubhav.  Great feelings for the Supreme. The desire to serve. Great feelings for the supreme, and nothing else – viraktir anyatra ca. There are symptoms. That’s how he knew.

Devotee (contd.): But he never sees the Lord?

Romapada Swami: Why do you say that? He is describing Him! He is describing Him and His abode and His pastimes. He is well acquainted with the ocean of truth. Why are you saying he doesn’t see Him? His seeing is not like our seeing. That’s another verse – premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. He is seeing but not like our seeing.

Devotee: Any whereabouts of the remaining 99 chapters?

Romapada Swami: No. Missing.

Devotee: About the Sri Brahma-Samhita, you said Caitanya Mahaprabhu got it at the Adi Kesava temple. Were they practicing it before Caitanya Mahaprabhu found that?

Romapada Swami: They just had it as a scripture. It doesn’t give any detail more than that. It just says the priests had a copy. He discovered that they had the copy and He made a copy of the copy. They didn’t give the original. Then He made other copies. It doesn’t say how they used it – just that they had a scripture in their library. Caitanya Mahaprabhu understood the significance of it presumably more deeply than they did. He became particularly attracted and He established its importance amongst His followers. After all, Jiva Gosvami was living in Vrndavana when he wrote his Sanskrit commentary. Mahaprabhu brought a copy to Vidyanagara to give to Ramananda Raya, and when He went then to Puri, other copies were circulated. Here is Jiva Gosvami writing a commentary in Vrndavana. Obviously it was taught by Jiva Gosvami to his followers. It took on a special importance amongst Lord Caitanya’s followers because Lord Caitanya invested so much value in it and because of what’s in it.

Devotee (contd.): So Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers are the ones who really understood this?

Romapada Swami: Yes. Sri Vaisnavas are also aware of it. They have their explanation of how it became manifest. To them it has its importance, but to them the importance is taken in somewhat a different way. Our importance is, specifically, Goloka – the unique position of Goloka above Hari dhama. The mood of love of Goloka above the mood of love of Vaikuntha. For Gaudiya Vaisnavas, there is a special significance and it is very very clear.

I haven’t had a discussion with Sri Vaisnavas how they regard those sections. Just like anything else, according to one’s mood of love, they will see something – how they see the deity, how they see the scripture, how they see the process of chanting. From the line of predecessor acaryas one receives a perspective. For example, the pastimes of Radha and Krishna are within the Padma Purana and Vishnu Purana, and the regard of other sampradayas is not the same as the Gaudiya Sampradaya. Some have some special appreciation and also uniqueness of Krishna’s pastimes in Vrndavana. But there is a different appreciation because of their lineage. The gift specifically that Lord Caitanya gave was unique. So, reading the same passages, the followers of Lord Caitanya have a particular appreciation according to the line from which they receive descending knowledge. Others say, for example, they have special appreciation for the bala-lila of Krishna because He doesn’t do things like rasa dance and “illicit” things. The affection of parental love for the innocent, pure Bala-gopala, they seem to like that.

Devotee: After reading Srila Prabhupada books, I felt I am really reading the scriptures because Srila Prabhupada really emphasizes the real core vs. the dharma, artha, kama, moksa. All the other people emphasize the latter but Srila Prabhupada emphasizes more on this side.

Romapada Swami: And not only more on this side, but when you listen to the Sri Brahma-Samhita verses especially when we get into Verses 36 and 37, it gets into really delicate subject matter. It’s Krishna’s affairs with the Gopis. Most people hit a wall when it comes to Krishna’s pastimes with the Gopis. They have a problem with it, or they are attracted the wrong way. It is right there in Sri Brahma-Samhita. You will see when we get there.

Devotee: I am not very clear about yantra. It is a pictorial representation of mantra, but is it drawn from our understanding?

Romapada Swami: It is literal. Just like the deity is the form of Krishna, yantra is the abode of the Supreme Lord. It is taken that way in the process of worship, as the deity is taken as Krishna himself. Like the Bhagavatam is Krishna in His literary form so the yantra is the abode of….depending on which yantra, the abode of the Supreme Lord in yantra form. The Lord is present, in the center of the yantra, which is part of the process of worship. Srila Prabhupada never introduced that particular method of worship for us, so we don’t do that. But apparently Lord Brahma did because he describes it. Tamala Krishna Gosvami Maharaja, in his explanation, calls a yantra “a mystical diagram.” Literally, yantra means machine. yantrarudhani mayaya [BG 18.61], the machine made of the material energy. The living entity is situated on a machine, so that’s another type of a yantra. In this case it is a mystical diagram. A depiction in two dimensional form of the abode of Krishna. Here you see Radha and Krishna at the center, and the abode of the Lord is expanded, moving in an outward direction from the center. Verses 3 thru 5 provide these details. The narration of these three verse is somewhat complex because it is revealing the essential parts or elements within the Supreme Lord’s abode.

Devotee: Last year in your Sri Brahma-Samhita seminar also there were some yantras. One of them was abode of Lord Nṛsimha, one is Goloka?

Romapada Swami: I only mentioned the Nṛsima yantra. I didn’t show a picture of the Nṛsimha yantra other than a photo of the Nṛsimha yantra found on His altar in Mayapur. Last year, I showed the picture of the Nṛsimha altar and said over here and over here are the Nṛsimha yantras, while the one spoken of in Sri Brahma Samhita is a Govinda yantra. It is Goloka, the abode of Lord Govinda.

Devotee: So there were multiple yantras that were depicting the same Goloka?

Rompada Swami: Like we have different paintings of Krishna. Which one is really what Krishna looks like? They are all what Krishna looks like. Which yantra is the real yantra? They are all real yantras because the essential elements are there. One is in brass, another is in Sanskrit, and another is in roman letters with diacritics. Another is an artists’ rendering on a poster.

When I was in Guyana they have a yantra on the ceiling of the temple room! I asked the person who made the design. They saw this design somewhere and they thought that would be nice on the ceiling (laughter). But it’s a yantra. Theirs doesn’t have the mantra inscribed in it but everything else is there.

Devotee: One of the slides you were showing was the Gajendra moksa lila where he becomes weaker and weaker because he is not in his element. We, as spirit souls, do not belong in this material world. When we are trying to propagate this message of Krishna consciousness to other people, we sometimes feel weaker. We try to invite to the temple, or try to give them the message of Krishna, and we fail in this mission. We feel like we are getting weaker and weaker. How do we regain our strength? Gajendra gained his strength after he surrendered to Krishna. How do we regain our strength in such situations?

Romapada Swami: Very thoughtful question. I will respond a little differently than you might expect. The weakness that you described probably comes from ‘thinking of oneself in the doer’ consciousness as opposed to ‘being the instrument’ consciousness. By that I mean “OK! I am going to go do it!” That’s the doer consciousness. “I have this message of Krishna and here I go giving the message of Krishna consciousness.” That’s not how the message of Krishna consciousness is most effectively distributed. The way to distribute the message of Krishna consciousness, on the other hand, is as Krishna’s instrument, as the bearer of Krishna’s message.

Srila Prabhupada gives the example of ‘a postal peon.’  At your home, you have somebody who comes daily and delivers the mail. That’s a postal peon. ‘Peon’ is a demeaning, insignificant term. There’s this big post office and I work for the post office. I get a bag that has letters inside and I go deliver the letters to people’s homes. That is all I do. It is not my letter. It is somebody else’s letter addressed to a different somebody else, and I am just delivering somebody’s letter to somebody else. I am a postal peon. Like that, Srila Prabhupada describes the deliverer of Krishna’s message. But the post office person has the whole US Post Office standing behind him. If somebody does some damage or tampers with a US Post Box, the federal government is after them. Not the postal peon, but the government. It is a federal crime to tamper with a US post office box. So although a postal peon is a little guy, he has this big authority behind him.

Similarly, the deliverer of Krishna’s message can be really little. That’s ok. The message is big and the person from whom the message is coming is big. So when you are trying to give the message, just be in the mood of service. If people respond favorably, it is not because of you. If people respond negatively, it is not because of you. If people don’t even respond, it’s not because of you.

When the cowherd boys who are intimate associates of Krishna went to ask the brahmanas, “Krishna and Balarama are hungry, can you give Them something to eat?” they didn’t say no and they didn’t say yes. They just ignored them. And that’s in Goloka! So you take the message of Krishna and deliver to some people and they just ignore you. It’s not like you didn’t do it right.

So, feeling weakness is an ego thing, not a spiritual thing. The approach needs to change, not the service. The consciousness behind the service needs to change. I am just the deliverer of Krishna’s message. Say yes, no, maybe, or ignore me. That’s ok.

Go on book distribution. It is fantastic way to learn humility. It is not that when people say yes, it is because you are good, or people say no because you are bad. You are just there to do a service. Some people are going to say yes, and some people are going to say no. It is not an ego mission. It is a service – being a deliverer of this transcendental message in the form of a book. Book distribution is very purifying. It very quickly cleanses the heart of the doership mentality, instead replacing it with the consciousness of being an instrument of the will of our disciplic succession, specifically our Founder-acarya and his transcendental writings. Just like when I am done here, we brought some copies of Sri Brahma Samhita from the temple to distribute as a service.

I am inspired because I’ve spent anywhere between 250-300 hours preparing for this presentation, as I did similarly with the other one last year. I am filled up to the top with this wonderful subject matter and I am really enthusiastic to share it because it is so wonderful. Here is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in your hand! Here is his association. I would like to give it to others and if you already have a copy, find somebody you think maybe could appreciate hearing the seminar. Give them a copy and then they follow along, “Oh, that’s what he was meaning when he wrote this and that…”  The whole spiritual world can open up. It’s being a deliverer of the message.

Do it the other way and then one may feel weakness. You do it in the deliverer-of-the-message way, the postal peon method, and you will feel full!

There’s the answer to your question. Change the consciousness behind how you extend that message. Receive and give that what you have received. Liberally. Then the heart becomes cleansed, ego is dissipated, and it is just Krishna’s message being passed on. We just become conduits for Krishna’s message or an instrument of delivering Krishna’s message. You feel the Krishna connection. There is where the strength is. The feeling weakness is ego getting in the way. I am the doer. That’s the weakness.

Devotee: While we are trying not to be the doers, we also have to take responsibility for our inadequacies in doing that service, and there are so many and as we are doing that service, they are coming out.

Romapada Swami: Krishna knows. He is still inviting your service. You take responsibility but nonetheless you make the offering of service. Like Prahlada offers in his prayers or Srila Prabhupada in one of the very famous episodes of his installation of Sri Sri Rukmini Dvarakadhisa. One feels unqualified to make offerings. “My dear Lord, I am not qualified. I am rotten and fallen and puffed up, but please You accept.” We take responsibility for our shortcomings. We go on making offerings because that will help us rise above, and overcome, and go beyond our shortcomings. We continue making offerings of service with love as best we can although we are very crippled.

Hare Krishna!

About the author

Romapada Swami

Romapada Swami‘s first encounter with Krishna consciousness came in Buffalo, in the shape of a lecture at the State University of New York in 1969. The lecturer was His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The following year, Romapada Swami joined the movement in Boston and was initiated in 1971. Despite being admitted as a pre-med student, he decided to follow his spiritual path 100% and never looked back. He took sannyasa in 1983 and became an initiating spiritual master in 1985.

Under Romapada Swami’s guidance, congregational groups of devotees of Krishna have grown in many places in the US and abroad, including Chicago, Washington DC, St. Louis, Seattle, Detroit, New York, New Jersey, Houston, Orlando, Tennessee, Boston, Hyderabad and Guyana.

More information on Romapada Swami is available on

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